Boosting Hispanic Share of STEM Workforce Crucial for Economic Growth

As the young demographic grows, public-private partnerships are working to place Hispanic millennials in one of the country’s fastest-growing fields.

The Hon. Cecilia Muñoz
Kristoffer Triplaar, for National Journal
Janie Boschma
Add to Briefcase
Janie Boschma
Sept. 18, 2014, 9:26 a.m.

The de­mand for jobs in the fields of sci­ence, tech­no­logy, en­gin­eer­ing, and math is grow­ing and those areas are pro­jec­ted to add as many as 1 mil­lion jobs by 2022, ac­cord­ing to the Bur­eau of Labor Stat­ist­ics.

Con­nect­ing young His­pan­ics, one of the fast­est-grow­ing demo­graph­ic groups in Amer­ica, to those jobs is crit­ic­al to the suc­cess of Amer­ica’s role as a lead­ing in­nov­at­or—and also to the suc­cess of the eco­nomy.

“It’s not ac­tu­ally about al­tru­ism, it’s com­pletely about our eco­nom­ic fu­ture,” said Cecil­ia Muñoz, dir­ect­or of the White House Do­mest­ic Policy Coun­cil, at an At­lantic/Na­tion­al Journ­al event un­der­writ­ten by Mi­crosoft on His­pan­ic mil­len­ni­als in STEM fields on Thursday. “We can’t hope to have the kind of eco­nom­ic growth that the pres­id­ent is shoot­ing for, that we’re all aim­ing for, if we’re not ad­equately pre­par­ing the stu­dents who are com­ing up today.”

Minor­it­ies and wo­men are his­tor­ic­ally un­der­rep­res­en­ted in STEM fields. The His­pan­ic share of the U.S. work­force grew from 3 per­cent in 1970 to 15 per­cent in 2011, yet His­pan­ics only ac­coun­ted for 7 per­cent of the STEM work­force in 2011, ac­cord­ing to Census Bur­eau data.

The event also fea­tured a pan­el and an in­ter­view where the guest speak­ers agreed that boost­ing minor­ity and es­pe­cially His­pan­ic rep­res­ent­a­tion in STEM fields re­quires a hol­ist­ic ap­proach that sup­ports stu­dents from the be­gin­ning to the end of their edu­ca­tion.

There are a num­ber of areas where the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion and the private sec­tor are fo­cus­ing their ef­forts to boost the par­ti­cip­a­tion of un­der­rep­res­en­ted groups.

Mun­oz said the ad­min­is­tra­tion will have achieved about 40 per­cent of its over­all goal in adding thou­sands of new teach­ers by the next two to three years. Part­ner­ing with 100 non­gov­ern­ment­al groups, they hope to add a total of 100,000 highly trained K-12 STEM teach­ers by 2020.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion also aims to in­crease stu­dent ex­pos­ure to STEM op­por­tun­it­ies by 50 per­cent and in­crease the num­ber of col­lege STEM gradu­ates by 1 mil­lion over the next dec­ade.

His­pan­ic stu­dents ac­count for 10 per­cent of bach­el­or’s de­grees in STEM awar­ded to U.S. res­id­ents an­nu­ally, ac­cord­ing to data from the Na­tion­al Sci­ence Found­a­tion, though they ac­count for about 17 per­cent of the U.S. pop­u­la­tion.

“That’s where the room for growth is,” Mun­oz said, “so we are in­vest­ing in ap­proaches with His­pan­ic-serving in­sti­tu­tions, for ex­ample, of high­er edu­ca­tion that are again mak­ing sure people are pre­pared to think about STEM pro­grams when they enter high­er edu­ca­tion, mak­ing sure that they get the sup­port that they need.”

Take Geor­gia Tech, for ex­ample, where pan­el­ist Ra­fael Bras is prov­ost and ex­ec­ut­ive vice pres­id­ent for aca­dem­ic af­fairs.

Geor­gia Tech ranked in the top 10 na­tion­wide for the num­ber of His­pan­ic gradu­ates with bach­el­or’s and mas­ter’s de­grees in en­gin­eer­ing in 2012. Bras at­trib­utes that ac­com­plish­ment to step­ping up their ef­forts across the board—in re­cruit­ment, stu­dent sup­port, ment­or­ship, and schol­ar­ships—in fos­ter­ing His­pan­ic stu­dents’ suc­cess by provid­ing them with “con­stant at­ten­tion.”

They also of­fer on­line AP courses in Geor­gia high schools, trans­fer­able for col­lege cred­it, to bet­ter pre­pare stu­dents for ad­vanced learn­ing in STEM areas.

“If the op­por­tun­ity is not there, we can make it,” Bras said.

What We're Following See More »
HALEY SAYS THEY SHOULD BE HEARD
Trump Accusers to Hold Presser This Morning
19 hours ago
THE LATEST
WEDNESDAY SPEECH AT TREASURY
Trump to Make “Closing Argument” on Taxes This Week
21 hours ago
THE LATEST

President Trump is set to make remarks Wednesday at the Treasury Department detailing how the "once-in-a-generation tax cut/reform bill will create economic opportunity and brighter futures. Aides say Trump will display his dealmaking/closing skills as he makes his case to the American people, while continuing to work behind the scenes to iron out final details."

Source:
COINCIDE WITH REGULAR CYCLE
MI-13 Special Election Dates Set
3 days ago
THE DETAILS
CITES WIFE’S HEALTH
Trent Franks Resigns
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

Franks originally announced his resignation as effective Jan. 31, 2018. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) will announce special election dates on Monday.

Source:
PLUS 36 LAPTOPS
15 Warrants, 116,000 Pages of Manafort Documents Obtained by Mueller
3 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login